“Assassin’s Creed” (Fox)

Michael Fassbender and James Sobol Kelly star in a scene from the movie "Assassin's Creed." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Fox)

By Catholic News Service

Though the mayhem that pervades this adaptation of a popular series of video games is mostly bloodless, other more unusual problems render it unacceptable for all.

After being unexpectedly saved from execution by a secretive organization (Marion Cotillard plays one of its officials), a criminal (Michael Fassbender) gets filled in, along with the audience, on a bit of alternate history: the age-old feud between the Knights Templar and the Assassins. While the power-hungry Templars aim to eradicate free will, and are on the trail of an artifact that will enable them to do so, the Assassins, supposedly the good guys in this plot, are nihilists who deny the existence of truth and reject all moral norms.

For reasons best known to them, Cotillard and her colleagues have decided that the optimal way to stop the Templars is to use a time-travel machine to send Fassbinder — or at least his consciousness — back to 15th-century Spain where he will control the body of an ancestor of his who was in the thick of every battle. There he also witnesses the work of the Templar-backed Inquisition. Tainted by a dumbed-down vision of the past, and of the church, director Justin Kurzel’s preposterous brew curdles swiftly.

False values, anti-Catholicism, sometimes harsh but rarely gory combat violence, at least one instance each of rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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